In a hole in the ground, there once lived a hobbit–the line that started it all. In 1936, a writer, poet and philologist published a book that would continue to inspire generations to come. The book: The Hobbit. The author: J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien created an entirely new world, complete with maps, histories, species, and fantastical elements that existed purely in the form of words and imagination for decades. Until, in 2001, Peter Jackson directed The Fellowship of the Ring, the first movie of the trilogy based on Tolkien's work.
And in making that movie, like making any movie, the goal is to bring the written word to life on a screen. Peter Jackson did just that in directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy. His plan was to bring a fantasy to life, to make it seem real. To do this, he embarked on a mission to find movie locations that could contain this fantastical element, but already existed in our natural world. When he explored New Zealand, it was the perfect match, and today, the majestic hills and captivating greenery that exists in the Lord of the Rings films, exist in reality too. Today, diehard fans of the movie can visit Hobbiton, where much of the set of the Shire was built, where a hobbit did live in a hole in the ground.
But, it didn’t start or end with Lord of the Rings and Tolkien, before a movie is even made, a location scout goes out in search of the perfect match for a script. Everywhere from London and New York City the most common backdrops to the movies we stream, to Hawaii and Thailand, movies use locations and natural beauty to bring a story to life on the big screen. And oftentimes, those movies that use a nature-made set as opposed to man-made, are far more beautiful.
Best of all, that nature-made beauty we see on screen, we can follow, and see in our own lives too. And as a self-proclaimed fan girl (of many nerdoms), I know how great it is to see one of your most beloved fandoms come to physicality. So for all you movie buffs out there, or just those who appreciate an absolutely beautiful scene, we’ve put together 11 of the most iconic movie locations that you can actually visit. These spots are definite bucket list material.